Hundreds of elephants, wildebeests and zebras dead in Kenya amid prolonged drought
At least 500 elephants, wildebeests and zebras are dead in Kenya amid widespread drought. Wildlife officials said the drought will affect the whole of East Africa.
At least 500 elephants, wildebeests and zebras have been killed by malnutrition and drought throughout East Africa in recent years, an increase of 50 percent over the past five years, according to wildlife officials.
According to a recent report by the Wildlife Conservation Society, between 30 and 50 people a day are killed in Kenya by elephants in the dry season. Many other elephants are killed every year by poachers in Kenya.
Wildlife officials said that the numbers of dead elephants recorded annually since 2007 have risen by 50 percent over the past five years. In 2012, Kenya recorded the highest number of dead elephants since records began in the late 1980s. The worst year was 2013, when more than 7,000 elephants were killed by poachers.
Between 2013 and 2016, the worst number of dead elephants was recorded last year, with more than 5,000 dead elephants. More than 3,000 elephants a year are dying in Kenya because of the drought, officials said.
The most recent survey, carried out in 2016, showed that between January and September, 2,857 more elephants died in Kenya than the previous year. More than 10 percent of all known animal species have declined in abundance or distribution in East Africa in recent years because of prolonged drought.
“The situation is getting worse and worse every year,” said Dr Andrew Mwenda of Kenya Wildlife Service, who is leading a team from the Wildlife Conservation Society that has been monitoring elephants across the country.
The country’s biggest problem is poaching, Mwenda said. “The last five years, people have found a way of accessing elephant ivory, the same way we found a way of getting guns a decade ago.”
He said poaching of elephants in Kenya is becoming more organized, with poachers moving around the state at night, and getting a permit to do so to allow them to stay for a specific amount of time. The same goes for